InterviewLessons were learned from first phase of Reach - Dancet

18 May 2011 14:45  [Source: ICIS news]

By Franco Capaldo

HELSINKI (ICIS)--The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will take the lessons it learned from the first phase of the EU’s Reach chemicals regulation in order to improve the process of registering substances for the next deadline in May 2013, Geert Dancet, ECHA executive director, said on Wednesday.

Dancet said that lessons had been learned from the first registration process and that the legislation could have benefited from marginal improvements, without going into further detail.

However, he added that Reach currently works “fairly well” and that it is not necessary to overhaul the whole legislation before the next deadline in May 2013, when manufacturers and importers of chemicals in volumes over 100 tonnes/year in the EU will be required to register their substances.

“It would not be feasible [to overhaul the legislation] either as it would require a full change in the law,” Dancet added.

“Instead we are looking for more clarification on any open issues to make it easier to reach the next deadline,” he said on the sidelines of the ECHA’s sixth stakeholders’ day in Helsinki, Finland.

“And in any case, for the [second phase] 100 tonnes/year category compared to the [first phase] 1,000 tonnes/year category, there is not so much difference in the information required, so to a large degree it is the same companies registering. There are relatively few new companies which come into the picture for the next registration deadline,” he added.

Dancet expects around 10% of companies to register for the second deadline to be made up of small to medium enterprises, a group which experienced difficulties in registering substances for the first deadline.

To help the registration process for the 2013 deadline, Dancet said that the ECHA has been working harder to improve Reach’s chemical safety assessment and reporting (Chesar) IT tool.

The tool is designed to help companies automate their chemical safety assessments (CSAs) and support the preparation of their chemical safety reports (CSRs).

Dancet said the success of Chesar to help firms for the first deadline was lower than anticipated, probably because it came out too late.

On 1 June 2011, the ECHA will bring out a report, named Article 117, which will give an overview on the operations and applications of Reach in the three years since its launch in June 2008.

Meanwhile, Dancet said the ECHA has been busy since the first phase Reach registration deadline on 30 November 2010, processing dossiers that were both submitted on time, as well ones which came in late.

“There are several thousand dossiers which came in after the deadline and we have to of course process them…we also had a higher rate of incomplete dossiers among the late submitters plus a lot of rejections which was not predicted,” Dancet added.

“We had to also disseminate the [dossier] information – in the last six months going from around 5%, we are at 95% of the substances for which the information is now available on our website on all these dossiers,” he added.

Looking at the possibility of a harmonised worldwide chemical legislation, Geert said there was a long way to go.

“Reach was totally different to what happened around the rest of the world - what we are demonstrating is Reach can work in Europe,” Dancet said.

“The success of [substance exchange forums - SIEFs] has attracted the attention of third-world countries – they are interested in copying parts of our legislation and transposing that into theirs,” he added, pointing out the most recent Korean legislation looks very familiar to Reach.

“The US is also looking at a review of the Toxic Substances Control Act [TOSCA]. In their initial proposals, it was clear the US was moving toward our direction,” Dancet said.

By: Franco Capaldo
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